Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Crystal Skulls

Author: Randall Barron

The British Museum skull

Throughout the world there are many legends revolving around artifacts from ancient civilizations but one of these mysterious relics has baffled archeologists and scientists since their appearance. For decades, scientists and historians have tried to discover the true creator of the skulls with little success. No culture has ever referenced these skulls as being part of any of their traditions which has confused everyone who has researched the crystal skulls. Much of the confusion that surrounds the crystal skulls origins is due to the archeologist turned adventurer, Mitchell Hedges.
                The tales of the skulls magical properties were initially started by Mitchell Hedges when he “supposedly” discovered a crystal skull in some Mayan ruins in the 1920s. Mitchell Hedges originally displayed the crystal skull he obtained at dinner parties he hosted where he told stories of his adventures.   Since Mitchell did not reveal the skull he found until nearly twenty years later, his credibility is highly questionable. After his death, Mitchell’s adoptive daughter Anna inherited the skull and lived till 2007, still believing her father tales of the crystal skull. During Anna’s life, she speculated that her near perfect health and longevity was due to her proximity to the crystal skull. While scientists have concluded that the skulls do not have any special properties associated with the quartz used in creating them, there have been no attempts to test the skulls potential psychic abilities.
While the crystal skulls are believed to have been created by the Aztecs fur usage in religious ceremonies, an examination of the crystal skull at the British Museum has found evidence against these rumors. After the British museum observed their skull at high magnification, the quartz used in making their crystal skull had shown iron-rich chlorite deposits within the crystal that could not have been found within the quartz deposits of Mexico and South America in Mesoamerican times during the Aztecs reign.  Marks along the teeth of the skull also indicate that a nineteenth century cutting wheel was used to refine the engravings along the teeth of the skull. Since cutting wheels were not available in Mexico till 1521, we can determine that the crystal skulls were obviously created in post-Columbian times.
The most probable explanation for the crystal skulls existence is that they were created in response to the sudden flow of tourists into Mexico after they achieved independence. With so many people looking for artifacts in Mexico to send to the museums, we can understand why the macabre appearance of these items was so appealing to people. In conclusion, while the history of skulls has been controversial, they have sparked interest in ancient civilizations around the world for decades and will continue to do so for many more.

 Works Cited:
“Crystal Skull at the British Museum”. British Museum, London. Photograph. 17 January 2009. Web. 24 October 2012.
Edwards, Owen. “The Smithsonian's Crystal Skull”. Smithsonian, 30 May 2012. Web. 23 October 2012.
Hoffman, Scot. Lovett, Richard A. “Crystal Skulls Fuel Controversy, Fascination”. National Geographic. Web. 15 October 2012.
Meeks, Nigel D. Sax, Margaret. “Study of two large crystal skulls in the collections of the British Museum and the Smithsonian Institution”. British Museum. Web. 15 October 2012.
Morton, Chris. Thomas, Ceri Louise. “The Mystery of the Crystal Skulls”. thecrystalskulls.info. Sacred Hoop Magazine, 1998. 23 October 2012.
Walsh, Jane MacLaren. “Legend of the Crystal Skulls”. Archeological Institute of America. Web. 23 October 2012.

          Links for Further Research:

A website containing details on the each of the well-known popular crystal skulls

How Crystal Skulls Work
An overview of information regarding the crystal skulls

The Eerie Crystal Skulls
A blog about the crystal skulls